Finally: Succession is back. And what better way to celebrate than afternoon tea with Mr Wambsgans? Kerry Potter talks to Matthew Macfadyen about
season three, his ‘three-week rule’ with wife Keeley Hawes and why even he can’t get through his scenes with Greg without collapsing into laughter
'I’ll be walking in a tiny square in Siena and someone goes, “TOM! TOM!”’ says Matthew Macfadyen. ‘It’s lovely because people aren’t that interested in me and they don’t want selfies — they’re obsessed with the show. It’s all, “When’s it back? October? What date?” It’s very gratifying that people love it.’ Although some people get a bit confused. ‘Sometimes they’ll shout “GREG! GREG!”’ he grins. Greg (Nicholas Braun) is, of course, the sidekick/whipping boy to Macfadyen’s Tom Wambsgans: a twisted bromance that, he says, ‘feels like the show’s main love affair’.
People certainly do love Succession — the forthcoming third season of the drama that tracks the internal power struggles of the Murdoch-esque billionaire Roy family is, after its Covid-enforced hiatus, the most anticipated TV return of the year. If you haven’t yet watched it, you have doubtless had endless people telling you that you have to watch it, and they are right.
We’re taking tea in the lobby of a Fitzrovia hotel and thankfully Macfadyen, 46, couldn’t be less like his hilariously vile, venal, social climbing character. In fact he is the anti-Tom. A non-Tom. His favourite adjective is ‘lovely’ — deployed 23 times in an hour. I don’t think he’s ever met anyone who isn’t lovely. He laughs loudly at my lame jokes and he’s self-deprecating to a fault. While Tom would shoot his grandmother to nab a promotion, Macfadyen shrugs that he’s merely ‘a gun for hire’ and is professionally ‘in the wilderness’ when not filming Succession.